John Stephenson re-elected chair of YK1 school board

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John Stephenson will remain as chair of the YK1 school board following the first meeting of trustees since October’s election.

Stephenson, a board member since 2009, defeated Duff Spence in a ballot of fellow trustees on Tuesday evening. Spence was subsequently acclaimed as the board’s vice-chair.

Terry Brookes, Jay Butler, Tina Drew, Rajiv Rawat and Allan Shortt are the remaining trustees beginning three-year terms on the board.

Stephenson praised YK1’s enrolment figures as he returned to the chair’s position on Tuesday.

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“We’re going to be over 1,850 students in YK1, which is an increase of 30 students over last year,” he said.

“There was a very positive initiative at the high school to go and get kids that weren’t attending school – and some of these people were not children, they’re young adults.

“In June you will probably see an extra 20 to 30 kids walking across the stage at graduation, and that’s the key. We’ve got people visiting homes and on the phone on a daily basis, making sure these kids complete courses and get credits where they should.”

Sex ed ‘needs attention’

French immersion enrolment at JH Sissons is also increasing.

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“If this trend continues, we will have space concerns at JH Sissons. That’s something the board will need to pay attention to if we have continued success in the next couple of years,” Stephenson told trustees.

School improvement plans and YK1’s strategic plan will be among the board’s priorities in the months ahead.

The board also received a presentation from FOXY, the northern sex education group. During last month’s school board election campaign, some prospective trustees had suggested the NWT’s sex ed curriculum was “woefully, dreadfully inadequate”.

“A big priority is healthy initiatives in our schools,” said Stephenson. “I’m sure the GNWT has got the message that this needs to be paid attention to. As a society, we’ve got to be progressive in how we teach our young people about sexual education, relationships, and how to be kind and good to each other.”

Other issues discussed include plans to renovate gym floors at YK1’s schools and repair the roof at William McDonald Middle School.

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